We are very happy to announce the debut of “New York no Asagohan” original tenugui to commemorate our 1-year anniversary. “Tenugui” are traditional Japanese towels. Unlike Western terrycloth towels, they are made from thin and flat cotton cloths with a variety of patterns.
The “New York no Asagohan” original tenugui (size: 33×90 cm / 12.9×35.4 inch) is a 100% hand-made pure cotton towel that is dyed with the Chusen method. With this method, the dye infiltrates the cloth and the patterns appear on both sides almost equally. If you use this type of tenugui for a long period of time, the dye fades and it gives the tenugui a nice vintage look.
Front & Back
This tenugui is dyed with the Chusen method. With this method, the dye infiltrates the cloth and the patterns appear on both sides almost equally.
How to use tenugui in the Edo Period
The main purpose of tenugui is for drying one’s hands and body. However, during the Edo Period people started incorporating it as a fashion item and using it in various stylish ways in their daily lives as seen in ukiyoe.
As a “mitate” tool in rakugo
“Rakugo” is traditional storytelling performed by a rakugoka (professional rakugo teller). Tenugui is an important tool in rakugo performances. Rakugoka use it not only as a tenugui itself, but also as a substitute (mitate) for paper, books, letters, wallets, etc.
Tatekawa Rakucho（立川らく朝） Profile
Rakucho is a rakugoka (rakugo performer) who has had a unique career. He enjoyed watching and performing rakugo as an amateur when he was a student. After graduating from medical school, he started his career as a doctor and had to take a break from rakugo for years. At the age of 42, he had the opportunity to be apprenticed to rakugo master Tatekawa Shiraku, and he resumed his rakugo career. Rakucho performs not only traditional rakugo, but also original health rakugo that utilizes his knowledge as a doctor. In April 2015 Rakucho passed the promotion exam, and he is scheduled to be given the title of “shin-uchi” (star rakugo performer) in October.
How to use tenugui now
Nowadays tenugui are used in more various ways. If you are eco-conscious, you can think of tenugui as a smart tool for reducing your consumption of paper towels and napkins. If you are a fashion-oriented person, you can wear them around your neck like a scarf or around your head instead of a bandanna. In addition, you can employ tenugui for wrapping gifts, decorating tissue boxes, hanging on the walls like tapestries, etc.
Tenugui Ideas from our subscribers
As a brushes holder — artist, New York
I like to wrap a tenugui on the neck and go for a walk. — Kota, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, Japan
I like to use tenugui as table runners or to cover my laptop — R, New York